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Our Packaging Vision

Straus Family Creamery was founded on the principles of sustainability, organic farming, and stewardship of the land. Since 1994, that philosophy has been reflected in our packaging choices. Today, we are focusing on helping create a circular economy and a zero-waste future where every packaging material is reused, recycled or composted. At Straus, we care about every choice and are committed to eliminating plastic packaging made from fossil fuels and reducing the environmental impact of all materials.

We know it will take time to get there. The infrastructure, technology and supplies must be available to support our vision. That is why we are collaborating with our suppliers and customers and influencing policy to help build a better future with sustainable packaging.

hand holding glass bottle of straus whole milk
64 oz glass of straus organic whole milk

Glass Bottles

Glass Bottles

From day one in 1994, we have bottled our milk in reusable glass. A $3.00 refundable deposit is added to your purchase. Our customers return and reuse more than 2.75 million bottles annually, helping contribute to a circular economy and zero-waste future.
straus family creamery whole milk bottlecaps

Glass Bottle Caps

Glass Bottle Caps

Our caps are too small to recycle since most cities’ recycling centers don’t have the infrastructure to process them. Customers can send them back to us at this address and we will mail them to a local recycling distributor where the caps are recycled. We will use fully compostable caps once they are available.
straus european style cartons of whole milk, low fat, and non-fat plain yogurt options

Yogurt and Sour Cream Containers

Yogurt and Sour Cream Containers

We have achieved a 15% reduction in plastic use across our yogurt and sour cream lines eliminating 45,000 pounds of plastic annually. Cups and lids are widely recyclable. We are focusing on transitioning out of using petroleum-based plastic containers in the future while maintaining product quality and recyclability.
gallon of straus organic whole milk cream top

Plastic Jugs

Plastic Jug

More than 90% of our grocery milk sales are in reusable glass. Our gallon milk plastic container and cap are both recyclable and made from #2 plastic which has one of the highest recycling rates in the United States.
trio of straus premium ice cream flavors; vanilla bean, mint chip, and dutch chocolate

Ice Cream Containers

Ice Cream Container

These are lined with petroleum-based plastic with a low community recyclability rate. In the future, we will use a fully bio-based, recyclable or compostable ice cream cup.
straus family creamery marshall california red milk crates

Waste Reduction

Waste Reduction

To transport our products, our Creamery staff uses more than 640,000 reusable red milk crates to avoid the impacts of using more corrugated boxes. We use reusable environmental pallet covers to avoid more than 22,000 lbs. of shrink wrap annually.


Used For Pros Cons Goals
Glass Cream-Top Milk and Cream
  • Reusable!
  • Made from abundant sand, soda ash or limestone
  • Endlessly recyclable
  • Keeps product cold
  • Inert material - not reactive and won’t break down
  • Heavy weight with high environmental impacts from transportation and inhibits large volume options
  • Large environmental impact to manufacture glass
  • Increase return rate to 90%
  • Make cap recyclable or compostable
  • Increase recycled content in glass
Plastic #2
Cream-Top Milk (Gallons)

Foodservice Barista Milk & Ice Cream Products
  • Lightweight
  • Convenient for customers and large options
  • Low environmental footprint vs. single use glass
  • Milk jugs have one of highest recyclable rates for U.S. plastic food containers
  • Made from fossil fuels
  • Difficult to recycle into food grade packaging
  • Labeling is not recyclable
  • Low U.S. recyclability rate at 31%
  • Inefficient transportation
  • Plastic pollution potential
  • Maximize food grade recycled plastic content for new jugs
  • Source bio-based virgin resin
  • Recyclable labels
Plastic #5
Yogurt Cups

Sour Cream Cups
  • Lightweight
  • Lower environmental footprint vs. single use glass
  • Efficient transport 🡪 lower environmental impacts
  • High recyclability rate
  • In primary markets (SF Bay Area)
  • U.S. recycling rate for #5 plastic containers at 8%
  • Little to no recycled food grade resin options
  • Poor recycling quality
  • Made from fossil fuels
  • Plastic pollution potential
  • Replace 100% petroleum-based container
  • Maximize recycled content whenever possible
Poly-coated Paper Ice Cream
  • Lightweight
  • Good for freezers
  • Sustainable Forest Initiative sourced paper
  • Efficient transport 🡪 lower environmental impacts
  • Lined with petroleum-based plastic
  • No recycled content in paperboard
  • Non compostable
  • Very low community recyclability
  • Only one post-consumer use
  • Creates methane in landfill
  • Fully recyclable or compostable
  • Maximize recycled content in paper
  • Switch from petro-plastic liner to bio-based coating
Plastic #4
Foodservice Barista Milk (Bibs)
  • Very lightweight
  • Convenient for foodservice customers
  • Enables large volume format
  • Relatively low GHG impact
  • Not recyclable
  • Petroleum-based
  • Plastic pollution potential
  • Investigate rigid reusable bulk milk delivery systems
  • Switch from petroleum-based plastic to bio-based plastic
Paper Butter

Milk Bottle Collars
  • Easy to recycle
  • Made from renewable material
  • Clay coating can impact recycling quality
  • Sourcing 100% virgin fiber has high forestry impacts
  • Paper wrap not recyclable or compostable
  • Certified compostable paper wrap
  • Maximized recycled paper content
  • Improve box recyclability with supplier collaboration

The Packaging Challenge

Disposable packaging is threatening our natural resources and impacting this planet and our communities. There is no perfect solution. Currently, there is a substantial lack of sustainable packaging materials available for manufacturing companies.  Brands and people who buy products can challenge the packaging industry to create new sustainable packaging options that protect product quality while contributing to a circular economy and healthy environment.

Today, most of the eco-friendly packaging is made of petroleum-based plastic that does not go away and breaks down into dangerous micro-plastics over time. Many of us have heard of recycling plastic; the truth is that not all plastics are made the same and are only marginally recyclable. In fact, the United States recycles only 9% of all plastic waste generated, and half of that is exported overseas. Food waste is another contributor to landfills. It produces methane—a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.

straus empty recyclable glass bottles

Roadmap to a Sustainable Packaging Future

We are committed to selecting materials that will help lead to a sustainable market transformation. In 2019, Straus Family Creamery developed a Sustainable Packaging Roadmap. We are implementing it now and developing sustainable manufacturing capabilities that support our vision.

We strive to select packaging materials that:

  1. Protect human health and product quality.
  2. Minimize environmental impacts from raw material sourcing and recycling or waste.
  3. Add value to the reusing, recycling, composting economy and system.
  4. Educate our community and enable positive consumer experiences.

We are continually assessing our packaging choices and collaborating with suppliers who can help us meet our sustainable packaging vision. We have executed a supplier ethics agreement that helps our suppliers clearly understand our packaging goals. We will do everything we can to improve our packaging and embrace innovative ways to deliver our sustainable organic dairy products while protecting our planet.

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